While there has been a lot of commotion around cloud, Bryan Stibbard, the Australia and New Zealand area vice president of information management sofwtare provider CommVault, believes businesses need to understand the context of their data first in order to decide which cloud infrastructure — or if at all — is suitable for them to adopt.
Speaking to ZDNet, Stibbard believes a large problem facing Australian organisations is not about being unaware of whether they want to adopt a public, private, or hybrid cloud infrastructure, but knowing what data is suitable for which.
"If you can understand the data then you can determine where to put," he explained.
"If you've got data that you haven't touched in two years, and you're still putting it onto primary disk, why? You can really archive that off, or move it onto another tier disk."
Given the sheer volume of data that businesses are collecting nowadays, Stibbard said it has "become quite cumbersome if they're going to try and use all the historical data they have to analyse".
"The ongoing evolution is that at some point there might be guys who might be prepared to purge some information, but right now it's around touch, understand, and move the right data," he said.
"Companies have to actually understand their assets, and understand how it can be used to drive analytics, drive more information around it, and actually do something with it."
Stibbard said the problematic build up of data is resulting in the growth of 'dark data' — a term dubbed by Gartner — that refers to the mass collection of unstructured information.
"Dark data is unstructured data that people ultimately have, but get no business value added from it. So the cost of keeping data could often outweigh what the data is worth," he said.
"People often keep the information for compliance purposes but will leave to sort it out some other time. But if I put if it over there, and if someone asks if I have a certain file, usually it's going to be pretty difficult to search for that file when the data you have sitting there is so mammoth.
"So if people are going to keep that data forever, they may as well put the money out to move that data into a disk, tape, or into the cloud."
He said, however, that once businesses are able to identify which data they want to store for later use, organisations are able to archive it in an order that will make it easier to access in the future to drive analytics and better business decisions.
For example, Stibbard draws on the example of how information collected at road toll points can be used to help manage traffic flow when road work takes place.
"Right data, right tier of storage, right recovery," he said.
"So if you've got a critical business application store it on a tier one disk. If you've got stale data for 'just in case' you can put it into cloud. But if you want to spread it out evenly, that's where hybrid comes in."